Feeling unsatisfied in your relationship right now? It’s a familiar story – once so close, you and your partner are now arguing more than cuddling, feeling resentful more than loving. Sadly, it’s all too easy fall into habits that are sabotaging your relationship.
#1: You’re an Expert at Criticism
Criticism can sound the death knell in a relationship. Of course, we all find fault with our partners from time to time, but criticism differs from complaints in that it finds fault with our partner’s very character.
“I wish you would help out more with the kids first thing in the morning” is a complaint. “You are so lazy!” is a criticism. If you have an issue with an aspect of your partner’s behavior, try to discuss that behavior in a constructive, non-aggressive manner, rather than framing it as a character flaw.
#2: Complain, Vent…Repeat
Complaining now and then is just being honest about your emotions. And emotional honesty can be a good thing. As much as it may feel empowering to get it all out over and over again. What may be good for you is not good for your partner. This habit can lead your partner to detach from you, consciously or unconsciously.
#3: You Command and Demand
It may feel great to feel so authoritative, but most people don’t like being bossed around by colleagues or friends. However, many people accept it from their partners at home. In most cases, this leads to resentment if not addressed. Learning to make plans and achieve goals as a team is different than telling someone what to do.
#4: You “Stonewall” Your Way Out of Conflict
This is when you become defensive and react by “shutting down” – metaphorically (or literally!) turning your back on your partner. You no longer speak about how you feel, or how you can move past a fight. While this is an instinctive reaction for many of us when we get into conflict, it’s absolutely one of the worst things you can do to a relationship. Much more productive to talk about your emotions, or to get help from a professional therapist if you find it hard to open up.
#5: You Look Down on Your Partner
As a general rule, people are not as good at hiding condescending thoughts as they think they are. If you harbor patronizing thoughts about your significant other, chances are they can tell. Nonverbal communication is huge here. Body language and facial expressions give a good deal away. If you feel condescension toward your significant other on a regular basis, something is wrong.
Where couple’s therapy comes in:
Learn how to explore painful feelings; track and address reactive negative cycles; repair resentments and build a more trusting enjoyable relationship.
More about couples counseling:
- Should You Go to Couples Therapy? (Psychology Today)
- Becoming Alert to Relationship Warning Signs (Dr. John Gottman)
PARC © 2019. PARC (Park Avenue Relationship Consultants) is a group of highly skilled and experienced NYC relationship therapists working with individuals, couples, and families. We have private office locations in Manhattan, Brooklyn, Riverdale, and Long Island. Each PARC therapist has extensive clinical training and experience, and is fully licensed and certified by New York State. Privacy and confidentiality are guaranteed. Out-of-network only. For more information, please call PARC at (917) 340-7592 or visit parkavenuerelationshiptherapy.com.